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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  January 3, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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wow what a night. good evening and welcome back to msnbc's coverage of the iowa caucuses. i'm rachel maddow in new york t is 10:00 on the east coast that mean it is 9:00 in iowa. nbc news is still characterizing you the caucuses as too close to call tonight. mitt romney, rick santorum, ron paul, all at 23%. let's check in with our nbc news political director chuck todd, who is keeping an eye on the numbers for us tonight. >> not only are we
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characterizing the race as too close to call but we may not call the race at this point, assuming everything is what it seems to be and how the vote count is being reported in, that we will never be able to call the race before every vote is counted. that's how close it is between first and third. we are seeing in the raw vote, we do know there was a little bit of a slowdown in the vote count by the state party. remember, the state party doing these vote counts it is important to note, nbc news may not ever be able to project this race based on molding, we will actually is to do it the old-fashioned way, wait for every vote to be counted. i know a lot of people have questions about the raw turnout. right now, and again, this is based on some numbers, but looks like it is about on par with four years ago. four years ago, about 120,000 republicans came. anywhere plus or minus 5 to 10,000 on each side. i know that seems like a wide
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width, but the fact is it would make it either about the same as last time, which was a record turnout or even if it is a little bit below, the second best turnout of all time no definitively huge spike but no definitive dropoff either, rachel. >> chuck, thank you. let's go back to des moines and chris matthews, looking specifically at those turnout numbers, i think there is a lot of theories more or less cockamamie about whether or not high or low turnout is good for any one individual candidate, but i think that the huge news tonight is that we may not know until the very, very bitter end of the counting tonight. chris? >> you know, rachel and everybody, by the way, joining us right now is the chairman of the democratic national committee, you know, i'm looking at these results and you are looking at that from the outside, as we are, it seems like almost a basketball team, a very well-balanced offense here. you have had three people in the 20s, with unor two in the teens, no star. no wilt chamberlain on this team. >> despite the fact that mitt romney has spent the last five years, millions of dollars being all-in two different races and
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76% of the people who showed up to vote in the caucus on the republican side voted for someone else other than him so far t is pretty deserving if you are the mitt romney campaign. >> we know all elections are decided by excitement on both side, of course have someone, young people especially get out and vote you know he ended up deciding elections that very cautious middle-of-the-roader, slightly left, slightly right, who worry quietly, don't give a speech, they go quietly into thing room and vote either for change or the tway is. how do you make the case, keep it the way it is with president obama? how do you argue the case of the status quo? >> well, because we have got a president who inher red the biggest set of problems at once at any president since fdr or maybe abraham lincoln and he spent four -- the last three years taking us from a huge precipice of disaster economy to now three straight years of private sector job growth, 22 straight months of growth in the private sector for jobs, almost
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3 million created and he has passed the affordable care act, rescued the american automobile industry, passed wall street reform. we have pushed through a lot of important changes and stood up for the middle class and working families. we need another four years make sure that we can get the rest of the change accomplished. >> how does the president shift the attention -- obviously the voters of this state are not inspired by any kind to the point they are spiking. nobody is spike. >> plenty of anybody but no nominee. >> a surge in the numbers, probably won't show up. so how does the president take what is a personal popularity in the country and convince people although these have been a tough four years and would have been for any president, the next four are going to be better if he doesn't do that, my hunch is he can't win. he has to sell the next four are better than this four, doesn't he? >> i think he needs to sell that he has accomplished a tremendous amount in the face of remarkable set of problems. and that there is a lot more opportunity in front of us and we certainly don't need to go backwards to the republican --
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failed republican policies of the past which their entire field is advocating. >> have you noticed tonight, in all these weeks we have been watching the republican fight, all the days i have been out here, i haven't heard the word or the letter w mentioned once? no mention by republicans of a president who served their president in the country for eight years, fairly recently. what's that about? is that an opportunity for your party? >> there's just no enthusiasm on their side like there should be. i mean, if they are singularly focused on defeating president obama, which they should be, they should be blowing the doors off this turnout, at best, be matching the turnout from four years ago shows they have got a lackluster field but they are going to have a hard time mustering the support that their nominee needs. >> have better candidates than they ran? >> it appears that they have -- do not have the field that the republican -- extreme as the republican base is, they don't have a field that -- >> jeb, mitch daniels, chris christie, people like that, would they have been better candidates? >> the better candidates that
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potential cloy have run understand that president obama is popular, that the american people support him, that he stood up for the middle class and working families and he has got an lot accomplished, so they know this is not the year for them. >> you're good. i'm not sure you're right but you're good. thank you, u.s. congressman debbie wasserman schultz, making the best possible case that the best possible republican candidates knew better than to run against president obama. >> exactly. >> thank you, rachel. >> thank you, chris, thank you congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, chair of the democratic national committee. i got to say can we put up the board one more time you shows not just the first three candidates but all of them that we have got tonight? here is the first three rick santorum, mitt romney, ron paul, you see 441% in, 242422. look at the rest here, newt gingrich at 13%, rick per rate 10%. rick perry doing quite a bit better at this early date, 42% in than michele bachmann somewhere below this margin, jon huntsman should be noted didn't
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even really campaign in iowa at all. the rick perry campaign had said, an adviser to the rick perry campaign sort of hinted to the new york times this week, if he was looking at fifth or worst -- fifth or worse, he might be going home. so one of the things that iowa does is it win knows down the field. not only picks winners it picks losers. if rick perry does go home tonight, i'm not saying he will, since the campaign hint at it, maybe he will, i think he likes his job in texas, if he does go home, who gets his points? who gets his ten points? >> i think initially some of it's going to go to rick santorum. >> really? you don't think it will go to romney? >> the anti-romney candidate and then it will be a question of whether santorum can sustain the momentum. >> yeah. >> whether he can build, whether he can grow. and i think he will have some challenges in that regard. >> i think rick perry might have something to bay is that, too. i don't think rick perry would endorse mitt romney, i think woe go with santorum. >> rick perry, like every other professional politician will only endorse the person who he thinks is going to win and will
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wait as long as he possibly can in making that calculation and try to do it right before all the rest of the world knows that this is the guy who is going to win. so, you know, and also, i don't think there is such a thing as a rick perry follower. i think his endorsement doesn't get you any of those 10%, tough go get those 10% as a candidate. >> i think a substantial amount of those 10% are anti-romney voters. >> sure. yeah. >> i think no matter what perry would do, many of them if not most works go to whoever the strongest anti-romney candidate s i can't see people that would go to rick perry or any of the others because they didn't want to go with willard turn around and say we will go with willard now. i mean, if there is a guy with a pulse, santorum or any of them, i think that the majority of them would go with them h >> i will say, my gut check here it is impossible for know describe rick santorum as the guy as well the pulse. like rick santorum's last electoral competition was, we
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were talking about this may have been the record for the worst loss by an incumbent senator running in a fairly representative statement as goes pennsylvania, so goes the nation to a certain extent. it is not as if he was running in weird place with weird rules or weird dynamics. i mean, he got killed in pennsylvania as an incumbent. how could he be the guy with the pulse? >> it was 18%. did he win two -- twice if, in the senate twice, going for a third term and lost. the mood of the country in 2006, we were pretty much sick of what chris just said that w guy. and i mean, there was a sea change that was coming. nancy pelosi was on the way with the gavel in her hand. i mean, he got wrapped up. there were four senate seats that went down in 2006 that the republicans should have won. it was montana, john tester. it was mccaskill in missouri, it was sherrod brown in ohio and it was, of course, santorum. so he got kind of caught up in a whirlwind. not that i'm a conservative in any way, stretch of the imagination but having seen
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santorum on the stump, he is as good as president obama. i mean, he's good retail politic guy. he gets in that crowd and those people are believing what he is saying. he has got a very unique quality and he connects with people he is not a bus stop kind of candidate. he gets in their face, answers their question, gets away from the bullet points and gets very explanatory. there are qualities about him that i think conner is vat i have two really gravitate to >> i think the idea of ed schultz as rick santorum's surrogate is great. >> if he gets front runner, you will not see a candidate who is half as good as barack obama was his first time out, as a senator, he wasn't half as good on the senate floor. what you have here, rachel, i think you are absolutely -- what you're saying is how can rick santorum be a nominee? exactly the right question, how can any of them? every one of these candidacies has some kind of political cancer on it that says can't possibly, you can't go for the guy who did the individual mandate health care thing in massachusetts. you cannant do it. you can go right down the line. and so whenever one of them
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floats up, you're right, we kind of look at it and go, you're kidding? he rick santorum. >> a message, rachel. none of them have come out with any message that will resonate against president obama. >> rick perry a great message, but then let it go his message was going to be job, js, jobs, jobs. >> he forgot it. >> he forgot it. oops. >> you need to talk about somebody defeating an incumbent president, i have got to say this is my plan to america. they make it look like occupy 99% that never happened. they are running in an alternate universe. they are not running in the united states of america in 2012 and as long as they keep this horse race going and not deal with the real needs of people it won't even be a contest. >> rick santorum anticipated your question yesterday, i will true i do get this word for word. rick santorum said, the best isn't always great, but it's the best. we will get his words, it is word for word something like
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that. and he was describing himself. >> wow. there was a moment like that in "16 candles" with anthony michael hall, hoe was king of. we will talk about that later. >> congressman saying we don't fall in love, we fall in line a great rallying point. >> chris matthews in des moines. chris, i know want to get in on this. go back to me in des moines. i want to bring in david gregory right now, he is with us and been looking, i believe at the evangelical vote now. he is the moderator, of course, of nbc's "meet the press." david? >> chris, we have been talking about this a lot tonight, what are the big far this rat sniffs it is mitt romney setting the tone, how he performs here what is the big question we stand here looking at this three-way tie here we can't even project the win and won't be able to do it tonight? can he match his total from 2008 when he lost when he lost to mike huck bill? look at the internal numbers here when you talk about the evangelical vote. we know in iowa, social conservatives are very important, 60%, 2008, looks like 58% here, where do they break?
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very strongly for santorum. to a lesser degrees, ron paul, but significant, but put a circle around 14%, only 14% of those born again christians, evangelicals voting for mitt romney, underscores his problem with social conservatives. the upside for mitt romney tonight, what is the most important issue for caucusgoers? who could beat president obama and there, elect ability being the issue that is where romney performs very, very well. what is second most important is who is the true conservative? there, again, advantage santorum. advantage, ron paul. and we keep talking about ron paul. isn't he really the wildcard here? mike huckabee, who won four years ago, said he can't be the republican nominee. so all the twist and turns in this race, chris, we could have another one if ron paul could end up winning this thing tonight. >> yeah i guess the question comes down in each party, what point in the nominating process do you go from picking the candidate of your heart or your gut to the picking of the candidate who you believe can
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best win the presidential election? there's an old phrase the democratic party in d.c., november doesn't count. those were the red hots on the left, always wanted to win the intramural fight, not necessarily went presidential election. and i'm wondering on the republican side, david, if you're any way of looking in these numbers and finding them where is the break point where people simply say my guy or my woman can't win, let me go with the win here will win in november? >> right. >> i'm wondering whether tonight we are not watching something early, early in the season, which is really not about who they are picking for president yet, but about who their heart has. >> well, and the fact that mitt romney -- right. and the fact that mitt romney was before this contest a weak front-runner, will he emerge from this contest still seen as a weak front runner? even if he wins, this will be argued back and forth different ways. santorum has clearly been successful, he was polling dead last. he has really showed up here, he gets a ticket out, as they say. ron paul is the wildcard f mitt
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romney can squeak out a victory here and go to new hampshire and win, no republican has done that. that clearly helps him. but i still think we are in a very volatile period here, to your point, about who's got the republican's heart, who's got their head? we know there's great intensity out there to beat obama but a lot of volatility left here. >> we don't know yet. not sure they are picking a president yet. they are picking somebody they like. so far, they don't really love anybody yet. anyway, thank you. back to you, rachel. >> thank you, chris. thanks, david. it is still, as you say, too close to call, santorum at 24, romney at 24 and ron paul at 22. this is too close to call in the iowa republican caucuses at this point with 45% of the vote in. we are cautioned tonight by the guys who are in the middle over these numbers that we may not know until all the votes are actually counted. there may not be a projectable winner until we have actually got the full count tonight. it may be a long night. this is really exciting. we are going to be hearing from a top romney sur gant, senator
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john thune of south dakota when we come back. you are watching msnbc's coverage of the iowa caucuses.
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it is sometime too close to call tonight in iowa but it is sap tore rum and romney and paul, all vying to win. right now, 45% in, 24/24/22, between santorum, romney and ron paul. fourth, fifth and sixth place, looking the newt gingrich with 13%, rick perry with 10% and michele bachmann at 6. nbc's peter zappeder is at mitt romney's campaign headquarters in iowa with a top romney surrogate, senator john thune of south dakota. peter, let me hand it off to you.
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>> you had a chance to caucus for mitt romney, you had the numbers coming in, he may have a smaller percentage of the voters at the end of this night than he did four years ago, is that a source of concern? 25% then, right now, 24%, even if he whips? >> i think, you know, you remember four years ago, it was kind of a two-man race, sort of a huck bind romney race. this time around, the pie is really divided up a lot of different ways there are six candidates, i think the campaign knew this was going to be competitive, they expected that santorum would do well here, expected that paul would do well here and the romney campaign hopes to just be in that one, two or three spot coming out of iowa and i think that positions them really well for the states that are coming up next, but it is a -- you know, the race is on. i think it's off to a great start and i think that the romney campaign be very pleased with a strong finish here and looks like that is going to happen. >> of course, the narrative you
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know people will be talking about tomorrow if mitt romney wins with 24%, second, first or third in that range, what is it about mitt romney the republicans cannot embrace? 75% of this party, apparently, still not voting for him? >> i think there are -- right now a lot of places to land, a lot of options for people and people are listening, they are paying attention, listening to debates and looking at the candidates and hearing them out on the issues but at some point it is going to narrow. there are going to be fewer candidates out there. as people have to decide and want to get behind a candidate that can win it works with for governor romney and you will see people gravitate in his direction. right now august a lot of people, folks for him to choose from but voters at some point, that is race narrows, are going to have to come take care of the issue of who is best positioned to defeat barack obama in november of this year and i think that's gonna be the -- be pretty clear it should you can mitt romney. >> obviously, the election cycle should change, super pacs so powerful in this process, supporters of mitt romney, super
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pac, outstanding mitt romney, the candidate himself two to one this time around, allowing mitt romney to come out and say these lofty things, patriotic speeches, while the dirty work, so-called, behind the scenes is coming from the super pac. you think mitt romney should come you the and say no more negative campaigning as his campaign has attacked newt gingrich? >> i think all the candidates have super pacs thought running ads, a lot of outside money coming in, candidates don't control that, they don't have any control what's gone by some of the outside groups. somebody once said, politics is a bean bag. this is a tough business. this it is about differences. i think they pointed out those differences is a valid way to campaign. the candidates need to do the best they can to make their arguments to the people. i wish that they had more control over some of that outside money but they don't. there's going to be a lot of outside money, a lot of candidates are going to benefit from it i think a reality of modern politics. >> if mitt romney is the gop
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nominee, are you his vice president? >> i doubt that but i certainly want to help him. i'm going to be back in the united states senate looking forward to working with the republican president because we have big challenge ahead. >> if he asked, would you say yes? >> i have not given any consideration to that and it is very premature. right now, he needs to win the nomination what he is focused on. >> senator, nice too visit with you. rachel, back to you. >> peter alexander at romney headquarters with senator john thune, at one point was, himself, considered to be a potential hot ticket, a man who considered running by all accounts but decided no to the get into the race this year. a number of people who fall into that category this year among the republican sort of heavy weights. you got to wonder, as you think about tim pawlenty looking at these results tonight, think about mike huckabee looking at these results tonight, maybe jeb bush, maybe mitch daniels, you got to wonder who is looking at this three-way tie tonight in iowa and thinking, oh, why didn't i stay with it? >> tough wonder what tim
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pawlenty is thinking you tonight. >> yes, you do. >> at the end of the day i think rick santorum proves this, this is an endurance contest, it is a long, lonely slog. i remember in 2007 in the summer after senator mccain's campaign collapsed, he was riding to new hampshire in the mild seat on a southwest flight, you know, carrying his bags alone through the airport it is one foot in front of the other and i think rick santorum to his credit, understood that and i think you have to endure, you have to hang on the i think mitt romney understands that and i think his campaign is scaled now for an endurance contest going forward and that will be a key test. >> rachel, i have never known a politician who believed that he or she could win the presidency who didn't run for it when they believed it everyone you just named made the calculation, i cannot beat president barack obama in a re-election. i'm going to wait, i will rather run for the open presidential office at the end of the obama second year. >> their calculation is about
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the general, not about who they can beat among their fellow party members? >> thune is out there in iowa, working on how he is going to handle it four years from now when president obama is leaving office. also, i would like to point out that we just got officially here on msnbc, what in political speak is, yes, i will accept the vice presidency. that is what john thune said. play back the tape that means yes, i'll take it. >> and he is an interesting endorsement and surrogate for mitt romney because it was the vote value signs that were put up all over south dakota by the christian conservatives, plus the pastors on saturday supporting john thune. now, would these christian conservatives in south dakota, are they surprised by his endorsement of mitt romney when santorum is sitting out there? >> i can't wait to hear thune's explanation four years from now why he endorsed romney. >> that's right. >> the way santorum those runaway from his endorsement of romney four years ago. >> go right now to nbc's andrea mitch, who host "andrea mitchell reports" weekdays on msnbc.
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she is with republican congressman steve king who made a lot of news this year by deciding not make an endorsement for tonight's race. andrea i hand it over to you. >> thanks so much, rachel. good call, congressman king, too close to call, this tight -- three-way tie. what is your sense now? are michele bachmann and rick perry going to have to drop out? they won't have the money? they won't be able to raise the money to keep going? >> a really, really hard call. and, you know, when you know people and you like them and they are close friends, you can really empathize with the struggle now. all of the effort put in there. michele bachmann has drive than campaign out of the sheer force of her own personality and her own intellect. michele bachmann's energy that has taken to her to this point. i can't say what they might do and i wouldn't recommend what she might do with rick perry but looks to me there is a chance rick perry has the money to go to south carolina. he has to make that decision probably on his bank account, not going to be filling up a lot more after tonight that is a decision he has to make, so does
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michelle. they are the people i like to be with tonight. these are hard fires in the people that worked awfully hard. it is very difficult. i spent a lot of time with michele bachmann in particular and worked so hard, so much passion there you talked to her today, her mood today? >> well, it was this morning and a little after 10:00, valley high school. she was full of energy, gave a great speech. >> i saw her there too. >> she signed my repeal pledge, which i knew she would. she was essentially a co-author of the language on the repeal and you would never see any sign that she had any doubt. she just plunged straight on forward. and so we will see what she says. >> the money could dry up? >> the money is likely to >> staffers saying they are not sure they are going to go to south carolina, waiting to hear what she has to say. >> it is a very tough call and i look back, when she had that exchange with tim pawlenty on that debate night before the straw poll, that was a thursday night and after the straw paul, tim pawlenty pulled out, you get into these kinds of clashes. here is what i would say to rick perry -- >> what would your advice be to
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them? >> i just wouldn't give it. it is their decision. >> personal? >> here is what i would say to them though, barack obama is one of the last seven people that's likely tonight next president of the united states. you're still one of the six remaining. they have fought this battle into the point where they have gotten down to the last seven people that are likely tonight next president of the united states. that's really elite company. they have accomplished something that's extraordinary just being there. >> for the good of the party, they could throw passion and support they have to one of the other remaining candidates. most likely go there regardless. >> now, rick santorum, anyway you cut it, a three-way tie, something very close to that, rick santorum came almost no where the fewest resources, he really can have bragging rights coming out of tonight and mitt romney possibly has hit a ceiling and a ceiling even below what he did four years ago. >> it is possible. mitt romney is in a good position in new hampshire and, you know, he had tamped down the
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expectations over the last day or so he started to say he hoped to finish in the top three, if he finishes second instead of first, which may happening, depending how the votes come out, romney will have met his expectations, lowered them down a bit great shape in new hampshire, start his campaign in south carolina tomorrow morning in a hard watch so a he is not in too bad a position regardless of how this comes out. rick santorum set a standard now, next caucus four years from now, democrats and republicans will be out here working the rick santorum method i think he has really set something and be a long time before somebody just tries run on a media campaign. they will come in here and do the rick santorum method, hopefully and the media campaign and the social networking, put the whole package together. i don't think we have actually seen that even in this campaign. >> steve king, congressman, a voice of the conservative, the majority really of the republican party here. you understand it so well. thank you so >> thank you very much. >> rachel? >> thank you, andrea mitch, thank you, congressman king, good to have his words here with
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us tonight. all right it is still too close to call in iowa, rick santorum, mitt romney and ron paul all bunched at the top, as you see, 24, 24, 22. at this point, it is too close to call that is with 46% of the vote in. this is msnbc's live coverage -- live coverage, excuse me, of the iowa caucuses. we will be right back or backs, depending.
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welcome back to our coverage of the iowa caucuses. we appreciate you being here with us tonight. rick santorum, mitt romney and ron paul all bunched at the top of the iowa caucus. results so far, 46% of the vote in, it is too close to call. nbc news political reporter chuck todd is tracking things for us tonight by the numbers. and he joins us once again from des moines. chuck? >> rachel, a few things about the vote that is still out.
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we have for instance here in polk county, have 65% of the vote still out. hasn't been counted. of course that is the largest county, accounts for 20%. also, right here on the we were border, sioux city, woodbury county, sioux city not in -- not in sioux county, by the way. all of these western counties, no votes in at all yet. in a 2008, mitt romney won these. both santorum and romney spent time there. it appears santorum is overperforming in some of these places were romney did well in some of these western counties, we shall seem you don't want to project anything out, we have zero vote from those important counties. one other note that domenico and our political unit came up with, mitt romney is underperforming in all of the mississippi river counties from what he did the last time. he is still wing many of these
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counties, i know everybody loves our red, light red, pink color scheme here, but if you watch it carefully, you can see, mitt romney is still winning most of the counties that he won the last time on this side, but clearly santorum made some inroads in these counties, cut the margins here, mitt romney isn't winning by the same margins he won by four years ago. this is a heavily catholic part of the state. there was the question, this was a place for rick santorum, a devout catholic to overperform, for instance, where mike huckabee was able to do. that is something we all the to be aware of a little bit of a turnout estimate. now looks like we are going to be at least the 120,000 number and maybe a little bit higher so we may be on our way to a record turnout for republicans innite wa caucuses, rachel. >> chuck, thank you. interesting to talk to republicans in iowa.
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especially after the big year in 2010, iowa republicans did very well in the midterms in 2010 and sense there had has been a lot of excitement, they thought they were going to get a big boost out of it. 2008 was a record year for republican turnout in iowa. it was just slightly over half what the democrats got in terms of turnout and democrats won iowa by ten point with us obama over mccain f those turnout numbers end up being similar to 2008 is that actually underperforming expectations for iowa republicans, they want a bigger night? >> would be an environment where republican candidates are telling you this country is in an uprising against president obama. president obama has oppressed these people who desperately want to get him out of office f that's the case, there should be a significantly larger turnout, the last time, there was nothing for republicans to be angrily going to the polls to fight
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against in iowa, now the republican candidates claim there is. if there is, where are they? >> i agree with that i was at ron paul's stump speech in newton iowa and muscatine, where santorum was, they i will have if i had the hell out of pochblg would you have thought he was the anti-christ. i'm not kidding, they just go at him, go at him on the social issues they go at him on the economy, go at him he is not protecting the country. you would think we had no foreign policy at all. it's substance over style, a lot of talk about well, not very enthusiastic. these folks that go to the town hall, not rah rah, they are there consuming information, they are there trying to make a decision on who doesn't like the president the most. this is a good turnout. we have heard comments saying the enthusiasm, nobody is excited about these candidates, they might not be excited about the candidates but sure are
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excited about defeating the president that is the way it is coming down, as i see t. >> you think the numbers show a movement to unseat this president. i think the point is that if they just match or go a little over what they did in '08, tough this comes after eight years of them having the white house. this does not show the surge that people are waiting to select someone to defeat president obama. i think that so far, the candidates that are running have ran on an anti-obama platform have not presented a platform of their own to res son name. the issues this affect american people haven't given them and there is no galvanizing had this figure just match what is they did before. you had the white house for eight years. if you can only match what you did before, where is the whole surge to let's take our country back? that was the theme. >> i think with all respect, reverend al, a little bit more wishful thinking than reality-based. i think you are going to have a record turnout here tonight for
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republicans. i think there's a lot of enthusiasm in the republican party to take the fight to the president in the next election. i mean, the republican voters and when we get into november, are not going to be unenthusiastic voters. i think when you look at the race unfolding in iowa tonight, i think that you have seen some endurance by governor romney, six weeks ago, that he would have been in the top three i think was far out there, obviously, senator santorum coming on, beginning of a long process, 80% of the country think it is a long track, a very competitive presidential election, both parties -- with both party's bases highly mobile. >> a record turnout, steve, may be 2 or 3,000 more than last time is not a big record to talk about how mr. romney was not supposed to be in the top three, necessary the top three, necessary the top three with a guy that was last. shows how much they don't want him. santorum wasn't even in the
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ballpark, let alone on base, and now both headed for home plate. i wouldn't bag about him enduring when the guy that was in the hot dog stand is the one that's tying up with him tonight. that's how much they don't want mitt romney. >> no question that it is a big night for rick santorum. my point is that governor romney six weeks ago wasn't considered to be even remotely competitive in the state of iowa, wasn't competing there so a good night for romney, a good night for santorum and see go forward. >> the turnout story amounts to absolutely nothing more than ron paul got a bigger turnout than last time. these the entire story on why this turnout is what it is. you take ron paul out of this election and you have a much lower turnout than last time. >> i would just say, on mitt romney, i don't mean to be too literal about this last night iowa, "we're going to win this thing." that does not round down the third. >> the nomination. >> that's how they tried to sell it this morning, when you heard it last night in context.
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no. all right. >> the thing will be i meant tonight. >> that's exactly -- >> win that other thing. >> i am going to win that other thing. >> talk about later what that is. >> we will be checking in on chris matthews in des moines when we get back. it is still too close to call and we do not have any idea when we will be able to call this. it is great. you are watching msnbc's coverage of the iowa caucuses. this is one of those nights in politics.
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right now, it is too close to call in iowa but right now, looking at 55% of the vote n look, having a little bit of split here, rick santorum, 25%, mitt romney, 23%, ron paul at 21%. again, this is with 55% of the vote in. nbc is calling this too close to call. we go not know at what point there will be a projected winner in iowa. may be a very late night, a very tight race. go go back to des moines and chris matthews. cs i? >> we have eugene robinson, the "washington post" and howard fineman. howard, i'm looking that the number here, relentless stall that romney's been in now, a long time. >> 23 years. >> 23% thing is not to be ignored if this holds throughout the evening, the next several hours as the full count.
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we have 55% now and rick -- and mitt romney has a problem. that's three-quarters of the republican party gets a really good look at him and says, no. >> yeah. i agree with that, chris. i think that the romney people were trying to spin and the conventional wisdom of the other day was if he finishes a close second here if he is all bunched up at the top, then fine, iowa's neutered, it doesn't matter, let's go on. but just the sheer lack of lift in the romney candidacy going back four years now, he basically got all the same vote, the exact -- maybe many of the same people he got four years ago except for those who died in the meantime, that he got four years ago, so to me, it can't be, having gone to the rallies, seen how manufactured they are, how much effort gone n >> millions and millions of dollars. >> so much organization go into it. >> how do you account for this looking at this objectively, millions and millions of dollars, a first-rate campaign organization, all the money and
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style, a beautiful family, beautiful -- everything about the guy is perfect except republicans in their gut reject him so far, three-quarters. >> he was going to skip iowa. down play iowa. >> how does this affect south carolina? >> he decide it had looked like co-come in and end this thing, kill them all if he came in hard. >> if he killed beginningry. he hasn't sold himself. >> came in hard and wasn't able to close the deal. he couldn't close the deal. >> but all his money, okay, let's get to the point here. how much money did he spend destroying through his super pac, destroying gingrich and how much did he spend selling himself? the ratio was kill. >> kill. >> yeah. try to get rid of gingrich. but sell himself, he has been coming to iowa for a long time, right? people here do know mitt romney. >> right. >>. >> they are not enthusiastic about, but i wouldn't confuse
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that with an overall lack of enthusiasm in the republican party. republicans, make no mistake, do want to defeat barack obama. they haven't decided how do it yet, i think it is a mistake to say there is no enthusiasm. >> forget about 25%, the next national poll. >> huh? >> will he get above 25% in the next republican poll? >> i don't know. >> couple things, romney has been working new hampshire since practically avenues child, a house there and everything. rick santorum spent more time and effort there you would think, his campaign manager, national campaign manager is from new hampshire, knows new hampshire like the back of his hand, managed pat buchanan's successful campaign there years ago. so find that santorum has organization in both new hampshire and south carolina that you might not have expected. the question is can he get the money, can he get the momentum and can he be a good tv-based surge candidate, because rick santorum is more of a blocked,
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put one foot in front of the other kind of candidate. can he ride a wave here? part of it is money, part is whether he can project through the tv screen the kind of decency and connection that he was able to make person to person to person here. did it the old fashion wade in iowa. >> can he do it next week? >> he has people who know new hampshire more than you think. he can make it a contest, if he can get the lift out of this, he can make it more of a contest. again, the three-way contest with ron paul in new hampshire. >> in the charisma department, he doesn't exactly soar. >> neither does -- >> howard and gene and chris, i'm sorry to have interrupt you, i do have do some business here on the air, continuing to watch numbers come in from iowa, it is still overall too close to call but nbc news is projecting that the third place finisher in iowa tonight is ron paul.
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again, what we are projecting here is the third place finish of dr. ron paul. the overall ray the winner of the iowa caucus, is still considered to be too close to call, but we now know that it is between rick santorum and mitt romney. ron paul, the projected third place finisher in iowa. right now, 88% of the vote in, talk about where that vote has come in from, where we are we are still expecting to hear from and who is running strong in those places that have yet to report. it is a tight as a tick race right now between rick santorum and mitt romney. ron paul, again, projected to finish third. i want to go now to our panel here in new york, also keep on the line if we can our friends in iowa, including chris matthews. chris, let me go to you first in des moines for your reaction there, with ron paul projected to come in third tonight what do you think the implications are?
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mr. matthews? >> i didn't hair. i think the republican party has the problem it has for 60 years, battle between what they used to call the prim it was and the establishment and the prim it was right now are reflected in obviously the romney vote. i'm sorry, in the ron paul vote and of course, the santorum vote, but a lot bigger than the establishment vote out here. this republican establishment is not doing well tonight, his turn and mitt romney believes this is his tufrnlt the history, except in the '64 race as pointed out earlier tonight, generally the way republicans pick their candidate, they go with the guy whose turn it s there is something wrong with mitt romney and the republican base, they are rejecting him like tissue rejection, rejecting him like a newing or innocent body you it is going to take special drugs to get him accepted by the body politic of the republican party, he doesn't fit with the rest of the organism t is a problem. he may be able to do it with a lot of salesmanship but he
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didn't do it in iowa. >> can i just add, rachel, having covered ron paul four years ago i thought new hampshire, his big play four years ago, do better than he ended up doing, i think the result here is going to end up being a tick less than people expe expected. this is the second go around now where i find a big show of people saying i'm for ron paul and part of it, for some people, dramatic affect, then when they get down to whether they are going to actually vote for the guy there is about a 5 to 10% shrinkage there that is going to end up being meaningful here. ron paul could have used to have won here, finished third by more than the margin of error, less than he was hoping for 24 hours ago. today, they blanketed the air waves with radio ads, kids from out of state getting to the caucuses, told all their caucus participants to show up early, they juiced the system as much
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as they could. i think ron paul in the end will fall slightly short where they thought he was going to be. the second time that happened. >> howard that is a good point but i think is there a ron paul-specific dynamic, which is none of us are looking at ron paul and thinking because he came in third, he is going to drop out, ron paul, as i said before, got zero saves in 2008. he stayed in until june, even huckabee was gone by march. ron paul has a plan here and doesn't depend on him winning iowa. one thing important no-to-note here the rules are different here in the republican process and a lot more proportionally allocated delegate, a lot fewer states giving all their delegates to could ho comes in first, ron paul can potentially can accumulate delegates as long as he can stay in the race and he can mint money no pun intended sort of, and say there as long as he wants to and use those delegates whatever purpose he wants to use them for for and int continue to suspect whatever
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he wants to use them for is to spike mitt romney for anybody else. >> every vote -- >> now, rachel, the good news -- >> harder for him to get. this is the place where he could get the most votes co-possibly get, organize there had it is a ground game, people can walk in, democrats can walk into this thing today, anti-war, not able to do that after this. the question from here forward, where do tonight's ron paul voters in iowa but also the voters for ron paul thought in the other states, where do they go? because most of them are probably going to move to what they think is a reality zone. that won't be wrong. >> they got delegates, go to tampa and be disruptive. if i'm romney, i would be concerned about that i think santorum leaves iowa tonight with momentum. you can't underestimate moment numb a race. he goes new hampshire where i
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don't think he wins but i think he is going to do better than nip thought. south carolina with the christian right, the pro-lifers, he is going to be competitive and head to florida, this becomes a different race tonight. >> i think what howard fineman said too about the fact that santorum's guy in new hampshire was a big part of pat buchanan's win in 1996 in new hampshire, shouldn't expect he doesn't know what's doing from here on out. >> santorum said he had the second highest number of state rep he is supporting him in new hampshire because the story was out there, well, he can't go beyond iowa. he said, yes i can, i get got the second number of state reps behind me in new hampshire and a good team up there and that is to support what howard fineman was saying that is what santorum told me. maybe the closest second finish ever in iowa politics, but this gives rick santorum undoubtedly a chance to live for another
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day. and his fund raising, steve, maybe you can talk to this got to be fast and furiouses if the's gonna happen. i mean, the next 48 showers going to be crucial hal for him. >> he will be flooded with donations, probable late this very hour receiving more money than they have ever received before, they will have a challenge trying to cage it, count it, spend it very quickly it will be very interesting to see how the polls start to reflect his momentum in new hampshire over the next 72 hours. he is in single digits going into today, new hampshire, how quickly is he going to be in double digits? if mitt romney goes to south carolina, get drawn back to fight rick santorum later in the week? interesting to watch. >> follow the returns coming in from this tight race in iowa, now a two-man race between santorum and romney. we will be right back.
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